Correlates of Childhood Exposure to Soy and Growth Patterns ( 7/2007 - 6/2009 )
The nutritional adequacy of vegetarian diets to support normal growth and development among children has been questioned for a number of years and continues even today. It is also timely as US consumption of soy is increasing, and use of commerical ingredients such as soy protein concentrate is becoming more prevalent in such foods as cereals, energy bars, soy-based ice desserts, and meat analogues, which are popular among children and adolescents. Published data show that compared to meat-eaters, children described as vegetarians and lacto-ovovegetarians achieve normal growth, but pre-adolescent girls described as lacto-ovovegetarians are shorter. Vegetarians also tend to be leaner than non-vegetarians. This study conducted secondary analysis of existing data on 870 Seventh-day Adventist children ages 6-17 years to examine the concerns regarding the effect of soy intake on growth patterns and the onset of menarche. Outcome variables included anthropometric (height, weight and arm circumference) and age of menarche data, as well as BMI. Data was from the Loma Linda University Child Adolescent Blood Pressure Study (CABP) chort, that included individuals with a wide rage of soy intake, yet with similar characteristics of lifestyle habits and socioeconomic status.